NTSB Identification: WPR10LA063
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 21, 2009 in Watsonville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/2011
Aircraft: BUDD Lancair Legacy, registration: N7JX
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
While en route, the pilot contacted flight watch to declare an emergency and report that the airplane's engine lost power. He additionally stated the airplane was at 10,000 feet, and he was going to try to make it to the airport. He subsequently stated that the airplane was on fire. One minute and 42 seconds later, the pilot transmitted that he was at 5,000 feet, and that there was smoke; however, he could see the airport, and thought he could make it. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground vertically, 1/4-mile from the end of the runway. Documentation of the wreckage was consistent with an aerodynamic stall and rapid vertical descent. On scene examination of the airplane wreckage showed no evidence of a fire; however, the belly of the airplane was coated with oil. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed thermal discoloration and mechanical damage consistent with oil starvation. A review of the airplane and engine maintenance records documented a loss of oil pressure due to a broken oil return line about 3 months (26.6 aircraft hours) prior to the accident. The records also indicated that the airplane was not maintained by an appropriately certificated mechanic, and that the pilot performed most of the maintenance on the airplane, even though he was not certified to do so. Examination of the FAA airman records database revealed the pilot was never issued a Repairman Certificate for this airplane. Post-mortem toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot was consistent with the recent use of a typical dose of a prescription narcotic pain reliever. It is possible that the pilot's response to the emergency may have been adversely affected by the use of the medication or by the condition for which the medication was taken.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to oil starvation and the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while approaching the landing area resulting in an aerodynamic stall, rapid descent, and collision with terrain. Full narrative available
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